Greenwich High

Greenwich baseball team upends Warde, earns No. 1 seed in FCIAC Tournament

Photo by David Fierro: The Greenwich baseball team was all smiles, as they exchanged high fives after defeating host Warde.

Though pitching is one of its strengths, Greenwich’s baseball team’s lineup, which has caused plenty of problems for opposing pitchers, certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

The Cardinals have scored five runs or more in 15 of their 17 games this spring, including a 10-run outburst against host Fairfield Warde on Wednesday, in what was one of their most significant matchups of the regular season.

Receiving hits from nine different players in its lineup, Greenwich earned a decisive 10-3 victory against Warde to clinch first place in the conference and the No. 1 seed in the FCIAC Tournament. The tournament commences on Friday and Greenwich will receive a first-round bye.

“The first thing I said to the boys after the game is, ‘you guys have earned this’, I pointed right to them,” Greenwich coach Adrian Arango said. “We proved that we’re a true team. One to 20, everyone on this team contributes. Everyone on this team has contributed to us being in this position and going 14-3.”

Greenwich, which ended the regular season with five straight wins, scored six runs in the pivotal third inning, added three more in the fifth and tacked on one more in the seventh. Junior third baseman Justin Zych hit a three-run home run, senior shortstop Christian Mingione delivered a two-run double and senior second baseman Auggie Bancroft went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI for the Cardinals (14-3).

Photo by David Fierro: Miles Langhorne (No. 25) talks to Greenwich coach Adrian Arango during their road game vs. Warde.

“One of the things that makes us really lethal is how deep our lineup is,” Bancroft said. “One through nine and the bench, everyone’s a hitter. We’re aggressive and we come out to do a job and we’ve been able to do that. Getting the No. 1 seed feels amazing, that was our goal from Day 1 and it’s great to do it. My older brother was on the 2013 Greenwich team and they were the No. 1 seed and they fell short in the championship. I hope we can finish the job.”

The Cards seized a 6-0 third-inning lead off Mustangs junior left-hander Zach Broderick. The key inning was highlighted by Zych’s three-run homer and Mingione’s two-RBI double.

“My first at-bat, I got behind 0-1, I hit a foul ball and just missed it and didn’t get a good pitch to hit after that, he’s a good pitcher,” Zych said. “So I knew my second at-bat I needed to be aggressive on the first fastball and I got a good pitch to hit and took advantage of that.”

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich junior Justin Zych had one of the clutch hits, a three-run homer vs. Warde, on May 19, 2021.

Senior left-hander Carson Bylciw started on the mound for Greenwich and piched out of bases-loaded, no outs jam in the third inning. Bylciw, who posted three strikeouts, pitched 3 1/3 innings and was relieved by junior right-hander Tommy Healey. In two innings of relief, Healey yielded one run on two hits, while striking out three batters.

Sophomore right-hander Nathan Jones pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for the victors.

“If it was up to him (Bylciw) he would have stayed in and figured it out,” Arango said. “This is the luxury of having other guys to rely on. Tommy Healey, Nathan Jones have been great all year for us. I also had three other guys on bench I could have brought in.”

Felipe Echeto, a senior catcher, who went 2 for 4 with one run scored for the Cardinals, has enjoyed catching for the team’s talented pitchers.

“Carson came in here and did what he had to do, then Tommy and Nathan, they’re young pitchers who deal with the pressure like they are playing in the backyard,” Echeto said. “They tell me that it’s an honor to have me as a catcher, but I think it’s the other way around. It’s an honor to have those guys pitching to me. The season has been great, I can’t believe the season is almost over. I wish we had 20 more games.”

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich senior catcher Felipe Echeto had two hits at the plate and was strong behind the plate in Greenwich’s 10-3 win against Fairfield Warde on May 19, 2021, in Fairfield. Greenwich is the No. 1 seed in the FCIAC tourney.

Warde (14-3), which could have clinched first place in the conference and the No. 1 seed in the FCIAC with a victory against the Cardinals, scored two runs off Bylciw in the fourth inning. Junior Jack Andrews and senior Jack Fitzpatrick each drew bases loaded walks, cutting Greenwich’s lead to 6-2.

The fifth inning saw the Cardinals tack on three more runs though. Bancroft doubled off the left field fence, driving in a run, junior outfielder Tyler Cusimano delivered an RBI single and junior outfielder Ryan Perez knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly, giving Greenwich a commanding 9-2 lead.

Warde received a home run from junior John Heitzman in the fifth inning and Perez hit another sacrifice fly for the Cards in the seventh inning. Senior Miles Langhorne was 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored, seniors Cage Lasley and Jack Zola had one hit apiece and Perez had a hit and two RBI in the winning effort.

“It’s awesome, it’s the culmination of a lot of work and a great group of guys coming together at the right time,” Langhorne said of clinching the FCIAC’s No. 1 seed. “We had a struggle at the beginning of the season with some guys being taken out due to COVID. But it was nice to see everyone came back and put it all together at the right time.”

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich pitcher Tommy Healey gets ready to deliver a pitch against host Fairfield Warde.

Of course, the Cardinals hope to accomplish plenty more this season.

“The potential is limitless,” Langhorne said. “The three losses we had are games we can win and we talked about them. We’re hungry to move forward and bring an FCIAC and state title back to Greenwich.”

Said Arango: “I’m thinking back to when I played, there’s nothing better than the FCIAC playoffs. We know that first game and those three games that we’re going to have to win – they’re all going to be battles. We’ve been able to play through some of these battles and have not always come out on top, but that helps you grow as a team. Every game you play in the FCIAC is a competitive game.”

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